Pickle Juice: What is this trend?

I have received quite a few emails at this point asking about pickle juice, why kids are drinking it, and if there are any health benefits or detriments. I must say, I had not heard of this trend, and wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I found quite a few uses for pickle juice that some people advocate for. Honestly, I’m not sure I’m reaching for a jar of pickle juice any time soon, but you read and on decide for yourself.

picklesWhat are the main reasons for drinking pickle juice?

As a Sports Drink: Some athletes are big believers that the sodium in pickle juice helps to replenish the bodies electrolytes lost during strenuous exercise, not much unlike gatorade, or any other sports drink. Some studies have shown that drinking pickle juice when sports related cramps are present, they will be relieved in under 85 seconds, which is 45 seconds faster than water. Along with sodium, pickle juice contains calcium chloride and vinegar which makes it more acidic, and easier for your body to absorb in that state.

To prevent Restless Leg Syndrome: Now this is more of a home remedy that has not been studied, but many sufferers report drinking a few ounces of pickle juice before bed and being able to sleep without the leg kicking that normally keeps them awake. How (or even IF) it works has not been studied, but it is touted as a treatment by many different people.

To Aid a Sick Stomach: This is also a home remedy, and it has not been studied, but apparently people used to frequently ingest vinegar and honey to soothe a sick stomach (including heartburn) and those are two ingredients in many pickling agents, so ingesting pickle juice may give you the honey and vinegar people seek to soothe their stomach woes. I couldn’t imagine feeling sick to my stomach and drinking pickle juice, but there are many reports that it makes people feel better.

To cover the scent of alcohol: Some teenagers and other underage drinkers will take a few swings of pickle juice to cover the smell of alcohol on their breath to get their parents off the trail. I guess seeing as it replaces lost fluids and sodium/electrolytes, it’s not a horrible idea, but it seems like a gross choice of beverages, and it will help to prevent that imminent hangover!

To relieve Sunburn: There are multiple reports of blotting sunburns with pickle juice, stating that the vinegar helps to take the burn sensation out of the sunburn.  Now, this really has not been studied at all, and I am not sure how it would be soothing to burned skin, other than by replacing some fluids that may be lost through the skin.  But, if you are without aloe, oatmeal, or any other form of soothing relief, you may want to give pickle juice a try!

Are there Side Effects?

There are really no true known detriments to drinking pickle juice, but if you have a family history of gout, ingesting a lot of the acidic pickles/pickle juice can cause a build up of uric acid in your joints, which can be really painful.  Other than gout, as long as you don’t have to be on a low sodium diet for cardiac or renal issues, you should be pretty safe drinking the pickle juice.

So, in short, the only real research that promotes the ingestion of pickle juice is for cramping related to electrolyte and fluid loss from strenuous exercise.  All other reasons may be perfectly valid, but they have not been studied….and sorry teens that I may have outed, but if your parents smell pickles on your breath after a party, you may be getting grounded! And feel safe drinking that pickle juice, it really won’t harm you. If you do have any medical issues and take medications, you may want to check with your Healthcare Provider (HCP) before adding this regimen to your daily intake.

Yours in Good Health


A trick best forgotten to alleviate diarrhea

So, I am going to be honest with everyone, I received this question, and I have tried writing about it numerous times, and I know that it was asked in no uncertain terms as a serious question, it just seems like nothing anyone would try…..until I got out into researching it, and this is, apparently, used as a home treatment for diarrhea.  I was queried whether you could use a tampon to help stop uncontrollable liquid poop? I had no idea that this was something people did/do, and it does bring up some interesting thoughts, and I get where people are going with it, but SHOULD we be doing it is a whole other ball of wax. So, let’s dig deep, as it were, and really get to the crux if this issue.


What is the anatomy of the Anus?                        

The anus is a pretty tricky area of the body, no matter how you want to look at it.  Basically,  it is a 2.5 to 4cm long canal that has inner involuntary sphincters and outer voluntary sphincters that help to keep the canal closed. The voluntary sphincters open when you allow them to because you need to poop.  The canal itself is made of muscle and has different blood sources, such as the inferior rectal artery and the pudendal artery, so there is a lot of blood flow, and a lot of nerves ending in that musculature. With a lot of nerve endings and blood vessels present in the area, there is a risk for ulcerations due to pressure and lack of blood flow, when there is something causing continuous pressure in the area.  And, those sphincters should be closed at all times, unless actually needed.  

How would tampon use work?

The idea, as posed to me, was related to uncontrollable explosive diarrhea. So, if you had diarrhea to the point that you cannot control it, would a tampon help to prevent the anal leakage and act somewhat as a cork? As I was looking for true research based on this, I couldn’t really find anything related to this topic, but was completely overwhelmed by the number of people who use tampons for diarrhea and suggest use for other people.  They seem to think that it works and helps their issues, of course there is also a whole other genre of people who just put the tampons in their anus simply to feel something in their anus all day.  SO, back to people with pooping issues: Here’s the deal, tampons are created for women who are menstruating, hence there is a continuous flow (as it were) of fluids from the uterus/cervix onto the tampon, so it is easy to insert and remove.  One of the issues that can occur with tampons up the anus, is that your diarrhea may subside and the cotton from the tampon can stick to the inner walls of your anal canal.  It can also travel up continuously; vaginas have an endpoint, anal canals, not so much.  And, I also want people to remember that you are still at risk for Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS): a bacteria infection (usually from Staphylococcus) that causes generalized shock syndromes and has a fast onset.  TSS was common with women with tampon usage but those rates have gone down, but anyone with any form of packing with a foreign body (i.e. a tampons) are at risk.  

The Bottom Line: 

I don’t suggest you use a tampon in your anus.  You can cause internal pressure ulcers, from pressure causing blood pooling or low blood flow, you can get TSS, and you may either lose the tampon in the anal canal OR just leave parts of the tampon stuck to the walls of your anal canal. All of these issues are not good.  The biggest downside?  You are pushing a sphincter continuously open that should be closed; you can cause weakness in that sphincter and henceforth problems with said sphincter in the future.  If you have such issues with diarrhea, you should see your HCP (Healthcare Practitioner) and find out what the problem is, and cure the diarrhea, rather than a quick fix by sticking a tampon up your butt.  Call me crazy, but I think that you should deal with your embarrassing issue with your HCP before it gets crazy embarrassing and you need to have invasive procedures to get a dislodged tampon out of your anal canal.  Agreed?  Be safe, be healthy, and leave tampons to the ladies during their menstruation time….


Yours in Good Health


Pretty and healthy too?

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a health problem that affects millions of people worldwide, and drug therapy can be helpful and really work, but many people are borderline and drug therapy is rather aggressive, so we need to look towards alternative therapies.  For some, merely increasing the amount of exercise you get, cutting the amount of fats in your diet, and losing some weight can have huge effects….but what if you’ve done that and still have hypertension? It might be genetic, but maybe we need to look to certain fruits to help lower blood pressure…

What should your blood pressure be?
Any blood pressure readings less than 120/80 are usually considered “normal” and above 120/80 but less than 139/89 are considered borderline or “prehypertension” and above 140/90 is considered hypertension.  When you are in the borderline state, your HCP usually gives you the suggestions to make some lifestyle changes to try to lower your blood pressure, and even one blood pressure above 140/90 doesn’t mean that you are always hypertensive, but you need to start making a change because a couple of elevated readings, and your HCP will put you on medications.

What is this about berries?
A recent study from Nurses from the UK found that the anthocyanins (the water-soluble pigments that are found in plants/fruits tat create a blue/purple coloring) in blueberries, strawberries, and blood oranges help to lower blood pressure.  anthocyanins are a flavonoid, just like those found in tea, red wine, and dark chocolate, which have all been shown to help protect our hearts.  They found an average 10% decrease in blood pressure by increasing the intake of anthocyanins to one full serving a week of fruits with these flavonoids; they looked at blueberries, strawberries, and blood oranges but stated that only because they were easiest to add to the diets of their approx. 150,000 people studied.  The researchers said that any fruits and veg high in anthocyanins like black currants, raspberries, and eggplant can also help with the decrease in blood pressure.

What does this mean?
Well, a couple of things, really!  This means that eating a colorful plate of food really is healthy for you, and increasing the purple and blues on your plate can help to reduce your blood pressure.  If you are someone who is borderline and making changes to help reduce your blood pressure without having to take a pill daily, give it a try to see where it takes you.  Also, I urge you to check your blood pressure at home, in the morning and at night.  You can get a cheap blood pressure cuff that is automatic, and know where you stand between HCP visits, and that way you aren’t nervous, and you can show your HCP the trend in your blood pressure…and see the effects that your changes in health and diet are making!  Some people get nervous when HCP’s check their blood pressure…take the stress off and do it yourself….and eat your blues!!!

Yours in Good Health